Nuevo Dia, Where Cultural and Linguistic Barriers Have Come Down

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Two clients at Nueva Dia substance abuse treatment center

Issues hindering the seeking of substance abuse treatment are particularly common for the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Employment, cultural adjustment and family issues prevent Spanish-speaking adult men from seeking treatment. Nuevo Dia is a residential substance abuse program located in Arlington designed specifically for this growing group of the American population, and new and specific activities are constantly being introduced into the program to improve its efficacy.

Nuevo Dia, started in 2000 in collaboration with Arlington County, Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria, was the first of its kind in Northern Virginia. All staff members are bilingual and clients follow a structured schedule of counseling and educational activities designed to help them learn the behaviors they need to stop the cycle of addiction in their lives.

Very often clients in the program are the breadwinners in their families, and family members often pressure them to return to work before their treatment is completed. Because of the importance of family support in treatment and the devastating effects of substance abuse on family members as well as on the individual suffering from addiction, the Nuevo Dia program places an emphasis on family services. Last September, Family Meeting Therapy was introduced for clients with marital problems or who had a history of domestic violence. Clients during these sessions have the opportunity to learn how to build a healthy relationship, to respect and communicate with their spouses and to save their marriages and families.

As several studies show  the exercise improves health and may play a supporting role in treating severe depression, physical education is also an essential activity for clients in all our programs. “We had a client that had high blood pressure problems and who refused to go to physical education class”, said Noemi Pacheco, primary counselor at Nuevo Dia. “He had never been in a gym before, and it was hard to convince him to go for the first time. We finally persuaded him to go and his health improved, he was able to stop taking blood pressure medication and started to be very excited about going to the gym.”

Clients at Nuevo Dia can also attend English as Second Language classes, which are usually provided by interns and volunteers, and they find Seeking Safety classes very interesting and useful in their lives.

There is strong evidence that the delivery of services in Spanish and the cultural approach are effective. Client surveys reveal that Nuevo Dia clients feel more comfortable and positive about the program, and comfort is fundamental in the success of substance abuse treatment. This is why Nuevo Dia is so innovative and, in all these years, has always had very successful outcomes.

Find out more about programs and services at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, or call us today at: 1 888 671 9392.


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